Archive for December 31st, 2009

Guard against complacency

“For the Lord spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people…” Isaiah 8:11 (ESV)

“Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”  2 Corinthians 7:1 (NKJV)

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”” 1 Peter 1:13-16 (ESV)

It’s not enough to be “better than most.”  We can’t just keep comparing ourselves to other people.  I know it is so easy to look around at the mall, at school, at church, and become complacent, “Hey, I’m doing pretty good.”  But it’s not enough to be the most spiritual girl in your youth group or the godliest guy on the football team (though that can sometimes signify a good start).  We’re supposed to be focused on becoming more like Christ, not on being better Christians than our peers.  If the world’s standard is the floor, and God’s standard is the ceiling, it’s not enough just to be above the floor.   As my dear friend said in one of the comments earlier this week, we’ve got to stop comparing ourselves to our friends, and compare ourselves to GOD – how am I doing compared to Jesus?  We need to be always moving towards the ceiling and pushing one another higher as well.

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 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”  Matthew 5:16 (NKJV)

 Here’s another thought related to the previous post.  When our friends (or maybe people we don’t even know) find out we’re doing/watching/reading/listening to those things, does it make them think, “Wow, he/she really loves Jesus!”?  Do the things we do make people desire a closer relationship with our Savior?  Do the things we say inspire others to search and know more of God’s Word?  Remember, as much as God wants to use us to bring others to Himself, Satan also wants to use us to draw others away from God.

If someone had a list of, say, all the movies you have seen in the past year.  This person had never met you, never seen you, never even heard of you.  All that they knew about you was the movies you had watched in the past year – what could they conclude about you?  This can go beyond movies – how about a list of all the songs on your iPod, all of the books you have read in the past year, or all of the games you have for your X-box?  A lot can be concluded about a person’s personality, character, and values just by what things they choose for entertainment.  Do the movies we watch, the books we read, the songs we listen to reflect that the purpose of our lives is to glorify God and serve Him forever?  According to Matthew 5:16, when people look at the things we do, our actions should point them to God.  In fact, our lives should be lived in such a way that when people try to accuse us, all they can accuse us of is being honorable, real-deal, walk-the-walk Christians.  “Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evil doers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.” (1 Peter 2:12, see also Titus 2:7-8, 1 Peter 3:16)

Someone will say, “But people aren’t supposed to judge me.  Why should they care what I do?”  You’re right, we aren’t supposed to judge one another, but we are commanded to set an example to all believers in every area of life. (1 Timothy 4:12, see also 1 Peter 3:15 and 5:3)  Now, I’m not saying that we have to be perfect – we all know that’s not possible as long as we have our sinful nature living in us.  But we are supposed to be becoming more like Christ every day, and He is perfect!  (Leviticus 11:45, 1 Peter 1:15-16)

As Christians, we should live our lives as if we had Jesus in person beside us at all times (He is with us in His Spirit, but we so often ignore that fact).  Let’s ask ourselves these questions: Would I watch this movie if Jesus was sitting beside me?  Would I read this book aloud to Jesus?  Would I take Jesus to a concert of this popular music artist?  Would I say what I just said to my friend/mom/sister to Jesus?  Anything I do in my spare time, would I do it in front of Jesus?  Dear brothers and sisters, He is coming back someday, and we don’t know when.  Do you want to be caught doing/reading/watching/listening to those things when He returns?

“You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” Luke 12:40 (ESV)

“He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” Rev 22:20 (NKJV)

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